Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Aria Blog, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman

News Feed Item

Colville Tribes Win Long-Running Environmental Lawsuit against Teck Metals

Federal Court in Yakima Holds Canadian Company Liable for Decades of Contamination

NESPELEM, Wash., Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a judge in the United States District Court in Yakima issued a ruling that Canadian mining and smelting giant Teck Metals, Ltd. is liable under United States environmental law for contaminating the Columbia River with millions of tons of smelting waste.

In finding Teck liable under the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund), the Honorable Judge Lonny R. Suko ruled that, "for decades Teck's leadership knew its slag and effluent flowed from Trail downstream and are now found in Lake Roosevelt, but nonetheless Teck continued discharging wastes into the Columbia River."  The court noted Teck's manager's recognition that it, "had been treating Lake Roosevelt as a 'free,' 'convenient' disposal facility for its wastes."  Given this conduct and connection with Washington, Judge Suko decided that Teck could be tried in Washington, even though its smelter is located in Canada. 

"We are very pleased with this outcome," said John Sirois, Chairman of the Colville Business Council. "Now that the Court has found that Teck is liable for its contamination of the Columbia River, we look forward to its participation in cleaning it up and paying for any resulting damages."

Included in the decision, the judge determined:

  • Between 1930 and 1995, Teck intentionally discharged at least 9.97 million tons of slag, including  heavy metals such as lead, zinc, mercury, cadmium, copper, and arsenic, directly into the Columbia river via outfalls at its Trail smelter.
  • Teck knew its disposal of hazardous waste into the Upper Columbia river was likely to cause harm, and was told by the Canadian government that its slag was toxic to fish and leached hazardous metals.
  • Pursuant to CERCLA, Teck is liable to the Tribes and the State in any subsequent action or actions to recover past or future response costs at the Upper Columbia river site.

The Court's finding that Teck is liable under CERCLA will give EPA the power to force Teck to fund necessary cleanup.  The Court's ruling will also make Teck liable for any natural resource damages resulting from its releases of hazardous substances to the environment in the Upper Columbia River. 

First filed in 2004, the lawsuit arose from Teck's refusal to comply with United States Superfund law to study the nature and extent of hazardous substances discharged by the mining company in and around Lake Roosevelt and the Upper Columbia River.  The smelter is located directly on the Columbia River just a few miles north of the United States border.  Teck's smelting wastes have been documented throughout the 150-mile reach of the Columbia River between the Canadian border and Grand Coulee Dam. 

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation joined the lawsuit in 2005.  For seven years, the Tribes, together with the State of Washington, litigated to obtain today's result – the determination that Teck is subject to United States environmental law and is obligated to investigate and cleanup contamination in the Upper Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt.  After vigorously contesting that its wastes ever deposited in the United States or released hazardous substances there, on the eve of trial Teck finally conceded that it dumped nearly 10 million tons of smelting waste into the Columbia River, some of which included hazardous substances that deposited in the United States, and that its wastes leached heavy metals into the environment of the United States.

"Today's court ruling has great meaning for our Tribes," said Sirois. "This river is the heart of our people.  It has always been and will always be our homeland, and damages to our natural resources must be addressed."

Together with other governmental entities, the Tribes and the State are actively planning scientific studies necessary to identify the extent of injury and resulting damage in the river, as well as in the upland areas.   Once these studies are complete, the Tribes and State will return for another trial to address the damages that have resulted from the decades of release of hazardous substances in the Upper Columbia River, Lake Roosevelt, and the upland region.

About Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

With more than 9,000 descendants of 12 aboriginal tribes of Indians enrolled, the Colville Tribes is a sovereign nation and federally-recognized Indian tribe. The existing Colville Reservation and former North Half of the Reservation are bounded by the Columbia River (including Lake Roosevelt) covering about 3 million acres located in north eastern and central Washington. This area is diverse with natural resources including standing timber, streams, rivers, lakes, minerals, varied terrain, native plants and wildlife.  The Columbia River has been the homeland of the Colville People for time immemorial.  The Colville tribal members use the Columbia River for sustenance, recreation, economic, and spiritual purposes.  It is an integral part of their culture and tribal identity. 

SOURCE Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @Things...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gary Hall, Chief Technology Officer, Federal Defense at Cisco S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to mak...
“We just completed the roll out of our first public and private cloud offerings, which are a combination of public, hybrid, and private cloud,” stated Erik Levitt, CEO of Open Data Centers, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
SYS-CON Media announced that IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, Virtualization Journal, SOA World Magazine, and IoT Journal. IBM’s campaigns focus on vendors in the technology marketplace, the future of testing, Big Data and analytics, and mobile platforms.
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...